Ys nationwide provide tools to help millions avoid developing diabetes
CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In support of National Diabetes Awareness Month, the Y – a leading nonprofit for strengthening community through healthy living – is encouraging individuals to learn how to assess their risks for developing type 2 diabetes and take steps to prevent the disease.
Nearly 26 million Americans currently have diabetes and a staggering 79 million people have prediabetes, a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. People considered high risk for developing type 2 diabetes or who suffer from prediabetes can develop a number of other chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
"As part of our healthy living focus, the prevention and reduction of chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes, is a top priority of the Y," said Jonathan Lever, vice president for Health Strategy and Innovation at the YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for the nation's 2,700 Ys. "Today, Ys across the country are helping hundreds of people take control of their health through improved nutrition, physical activity and disease management lifestyle changes -- so that they can live longer, healthier and more productive lives."
In communities across the country, the Y is a leading voice on healthy living and chronic disease prevention. The Y brings families together, encourages good health and fosters connections through fitness, sports, fun and shared interests. As a result, millions of youth, adults and families receive the support and resources they need to achieve greater health and well-being.
Several Ys are providers of the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, an innovative chronic disease prevention program that helps people with prediabetes cut the risk of developing type 2 diabetes through changes in personal behavior.
The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which showed that losing a moderate amount of weight and increasing physical activity lowered the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58% in people with prediabetes. The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is part of the CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program. The program takes an educational and experiential approach to behavior modification.
"Community partners such as the Y play a critical role in working with CDC to help people with prediabetes reduce the risk for developing type 2 diabetes and stay healthy," said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.
During 16 one-hour classroom sessions, a trained lifestyle coach helps participants learn about healthy eating, physical activity and other lifestyle changes. Following the initial core sessions, participants meet monthly for up to a year for added support to help them maintain their progress with the ultimate goal of reducing body weight by 7 percent and participating in 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
"The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is showing promise in not only helping people cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes but also potentially saving the country billions of dollars in healthcare costs," said Lever.
The YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program is supported nationally by UnitedHealth Group and the CDC and is available at 46 Ys in 23 states. To take a risk assessment or to learn more about the YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program, visit http://ymca.net/diabetes-prevention for more information.
About the Y
The Y is one of the nation's leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation's health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change. ymca.net
YMCA of the USA
SOURCE YMCA of the USA